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100th Interview Special: The Founders of Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) Accelerator

By February 16, 2012 One Comment

In order to celebrate our 100th interview milestone, I hereby present you a special triple-feature about the founders of the Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) Accelerator, the first startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for women-founded companies in mobile technology.

Thank you for your outstanding support & I look forward to sharing with you many other inspiring interviews!

WIM Women Innovate Mobile Accelerator Founders | No Country for Young Women

What is your name, age, and location?

Deborah Buresh Jackson: over 50 and loving it.

Kelly Hoey: I’ve aged since my last interview on this website… 46 and just getting started.

Veronika Sonsev: 36 years old, New York, NY.

Deborah Buresh Jackson

Deborah Jackson

What is your profession?

First career for 20+ years as Investment Banker.
Now: Founder and CEO of Jumpthru and Co-Founder of Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) Accelerator, the first startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for women-founded companies in mobile technology.

What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?

Consumer economics undergrad and MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School.

What was your first job?

Before business school: Executive Director, Government Watch Dog Agency, Cambridge, MA.

Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?

I wanted a profession that would keep me learning for years and where I would have independence.

Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?

I love to launch a new business. I have done that several times in my career. My favorite thing is to assemble and grow a team so that they can blossom and grow! I love to create a supportive corporate culture of mastery and teamwork.

Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?

Male Investment Banking clients were not afraid to ask me questions and admit they didn’t know something when they were intimidated by the male investment bankers.

Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?

So many to choose from. Being told by my boss at Goldman Sachs in my annual review that I could do a better job running my division than the guy in charge and then in next sentence from my boss, that I couldn’t be promoted over the guy because what would that guy tell his wife and how would that look? True story.

Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?

Meryl Streep comes to mind. Fame and Glory never corrupted her. She continues to evolve and she accepts her age.
Hillary Clinton for her endless work for women and the country. She never gets the credit she is due and just keeps going. A great mom, Senator, Secretary of State keeping world crises from escalating.

Kelly Hoey | No Country for Young Women

Kelly Hoey

What is your profession?

Connector. Business Strategist. Co-Founder and Managing Director of WIM.

What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?

BA in political science and economics and LLB.

What was your first job?

Before my entrepreneurial leap in 2009, I was Manager of Alumni Relations at White & Case, a global law firm.

Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?

My co-founders, Deborah and Veronika were my inspirations.

Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?

I’m working on my most rewarding project right now. Really.

Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?

I go back to what I’ve said before, what has helped me in my career is saying “yes” – accepting challenges and being open to new opportunities.

Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?

Happily, the career obstacles for me were political and I found my way around them by becoming my own boss.

Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?

My friend Frank Kimball was a great mentor and inspiration for me. He was an outspoken and vocal champion of young women in the legal profession. To quote from one Frank’s blog posts on Ms JD: “In your career, never let anyone marginalize you based on your gender. Don’t accept roles in a firm which are more fiction than reality. More importantly never think for a nanosecond that you are by virtue of your gender in any way inferior to the male of the species.

Veronika Sonsev

What is your profession?

CEO & Founder of inSparq, an ecommerce marketing and analytics platform. I’m also the Co-Founder of Women in Wireless and WIM Accelerator.

What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?

BA in Economics and Russian Studies from American University. MBA from The Wharton School.

What was your first job?

Analyst at Arthur Andersen. I left after a year and discovered my passion for business development at AOL – that’s what I’ve done most of my career prior to becoming an entrepreneur.

Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?

My business partner Richie – he’s been starting companies since he was 15!

Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?

Starting my own company – it’s amazing to start w/a blank canvas and be able to create and assemble everything from the business idea to the team.

Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?

When I joined AOL, I got put on all the women’s and communities deals. I’m not sure if this was because I was woman, but I had the opportunity to do some amazing deals with Match.com, Oxygen and Univision.

Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?

I’m not sure. The one thing I will say is that I haven’t had a woman boss since I left Andersen. I always wonder if that would have made a difference.

Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?

My father. He brought my entire family (8 people) to the U.S. when my parents were in their mid-twenties and only had a few hundred dollars to his name. He’s the bravest person I know.

And finally, words of advice from Deborah, Kelly and Veronika:

If you could give one piece of advice to a woman starting out in your field, what would it be?

Deborah: Tell that doubting voice in your mind to go take a hike. Have a vision of what pieces you want in your life (career, family, health, life style) and go in that direction like a magnet.

Kelly: two pieces of advice. Build your network so you’ll have the support, feedback and opportunities you need to succeed. Build your bank account, not for retirement, but to say yes to the career opportunities that will make your soul sing.

Veronika: Don’t be afraid of taking risks. If you haven’t failed, you’re probably not trying hard enough.

Links:

Women Innovate Mobile

Follow Women Innovate Mobile on Twitter: @WIMAccelerator

– Interview by Elena Rossini
– Photos by Lisa Tanner

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